Should food ingredients be used in cosmetics when the planet is already straining to feed nearly 8 billion people? This was the question posed by The Beauty Botanist, aka Jennifer Hirsch at a joint meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Sceintists and the Brisish Society of Perfumers last night.
It’s a good question, though not one you might have expected to be raised by someone whose business is advising cosmetic companies on how to use plants in their products.
It is hard not to conclude that it really is a bit of a poor idea of priorities that has wealthy people in one part of the world putting not just food ingredients, but often organically certified food ingredients, onto their skin where it can’t possibly make any contribution to their diet. Cosmetic companies compete with food producers to buy up these ingredients so increasing the price of food for poor people.
But sympathetic as I am to this general idea, I think there is another way of looking at things. People aren’t really hungry because there is no food. They are hungry because they have no money. Solving that one is a whole other subject and one which is a bit beyond my pay grade as a beauty science blogger. I think no matter how else we feel, we are always going to want to make ourselves look better. The starving are not going to be fed by anyone giving up a few plant extracts in their conditioner. The world is far from perfect, and it won’t get better by being puritanical.